Title: A Darker Shade of Magic
Author: Victoria Schwab
Publisher: Tor Books
Pub Date: February 24, 2015
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Adventure
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Synopsis from Goodreads:
Kell is one of the last travelers–magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes connected by one magical city.
There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, and with one mad King–George III. Red London, where life and magic are revered–and where Kell was raised alongside Rhy Maresh, the roguish heir to a flourishing empire. White London–a place where people fight to control magic and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London. But no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red traveler, ambassador of the Maresh empire, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.
“I’d rather die on an adventure than live standing still.”
This book is so different from anything I’ve ever read before (and I mean that in the best way possible). It’s f*cking savage and I love it.
I have to admit that it started off very slowly. In fact, the beginning was a lot slower than I would have liked it to be. In retrospect, that easy, slow-burning pace is probably what kept my heart palpitations to a minimum when all the constant action was happening. So actually, the writing saved my life. It went from zero to one hundred very quickly. It’s like someone glued their foot to the accelerator and had a deathwish. These characters have a deathwish. It’s intense.
I also have to point out that it does take time to build a new world, and in this case, Schwab is introducing us to four new worlds (Grey London, Red London, White London, and Black London). Because of this, I forgive her for the initial slow pace. Witnessing Kell’s experiences in each London was really beneficial in understanding how unique each “dimension” was. It’s all in the details.
Now, let’s talk about these characters. Kell is really something else. You can tell that he’s a complex character and I’m so excited to learn more about him. He’s got auburn hair and a constant furrowed brow that draws us to his eyes: one black and one blue. He is an Antari, one of the last two of his kind, which allows him the magic to travel between these different Londons. He is also a smuggler of trinkets, whether that be transporting magical artifacts to the magic-less of the worlds, or everyday items that would be a novelty in somewhere as magic-dependent as Red London (also known as: Kell’s London). Did I also mention he’s a prince? Well, he’s kind of a prince, but it’s a lot more complicated than that. That’s all I’ll say about him.
Delilah Bard is amazing. She is woman. She is strong. And my goodness, how refreshing it is to see a young lady like her taking what she wants and doing whatever it takes to get there. I hope she finds everything she is looking for.
I realize now that this review is bordering on the lengthy side so I’m not going to say anything else other than this: You should read this book. If you’ve only read this first one, you should keep reading the series. I can feel it in my bones. This is going to be good.